“Despite the dawning of a new day, I continued to lie facedown but remained fully aware of the goings-on in the environment, waiting to dance to whatever music the kidnappers would play for us next.”
“It’s time to call your wife”
That early morning, the kidnappers made all hostages call their families and friends in respect of the ransom amount they demanded on each of us. The other hostages were first attended to before it came to my turn.
I would later realise that the kidnappers didn’t use their own phone lines to contact the families of their hostages; they made use of the phones of their victims.
My phone had been taken from me since the previous day, so I had lost any hope of ever having it back with me again. Other hostages were also dispossessed of their phones.
The kidnappers didn’t want us to talk to one another. So we too kept our cool and calm. But our peace would soon be disrupted as they began inviting each of us in turns to a corner for profiling with a view to extracting additional vital information from us. What followed next would turn out to be a gruesome experience.
The gruelling profiling
I knew it would be a matter of only a few minutes before it got to my turn to be profiled through a series of questions intentionally constructed to elicit the answers that would help their criminal cause.
“Hey, oya, you from the ash colour Toyota car,” their leader shouted, as he pin-pointed me by stamping his feet on my back while I lay on the forest ground, “Come here.”
Interestingly, he didn’t forget the colours of the two cars they ambushed on the highway. Both were Toyotas but he was able to differentiate them by their colours and model.
He didn’t know my name by then but he made sure he didn’t confuse me with the hostage taken from the other Toyota car. I would later realise that the kind of car one drove was part of the initial visible external means of profiling a target.
I made effort to stand up to face him. But before getting up on my feet, one of the other gunmen dashed to where I was and dragged me aside into a small human circular triangle formed by three of the other gunmen.
“Kneel down and face here,” their main guy commanded me, with two other men pointing their long guns at me – each at my left and right, towards my back.